The theme of the 2019-2020 Presidential Initiatives is grounded in four R’s: Recruit, Reaffirm, Recognize and Retain. Since announcing the Initiatives at the Annual Meeting in February, dates have been set for some of the events and others have already taken place. In addition to attending the first of our National events in South Boston, I have already presented greetings to both the Children of the American Revolution in Williamsburg and the Daughters of the American Revolution in Richmond, as well as attending ceremonies in both Culpeper and Oak Grove and the National Spring Leadership Meting in Louisville, Kentucky.
The importance of Recruiting is obvious. New members are the life blood of our organization. Recruiting, however, is more than just attracting and enlisting new members. As an incentive for recruiting new members, the Chapter grant program initiated by then President Mike Elston and continued under Past President Pat Kelly will continue. I am assured that the rebate checks to the eligible chapters will be going out in the next week or so. We need to continue our work with the CAR and DAR to obtain referrals of those who might be eligible for membership. Recruiting however also includes getting members to serve on Committees, Chapter, State and National, to serve as officers at those levels, and to attract and encourage youth to participate in our Youth Programs, including the Eagle Scout Program, The ROTC/JROTC Program, The Orations, Essay, Poster and Brochures Programs. Chapter or Chapters participating in the most of these programs will again be recognized by the Wayne and Wink Rouse Award. To facilitate youth participation, financial incentives are essential. The Mark S, Brennan, Jr. Fund has been in the forefront of allowing us as a State Society to increase those incentives. I therefore have challenged the Society to add at least $15,000 to this Fund and I will personally match the first $2,000 raised. My check has already been sent and I ask you to do the same. Chapters having individuals who contribute at least $1,000 will be recognized with a streamer and donations will be counted toward commissions or promotions in the First Virginia SAR Regiment. Contributions should be made payable to Virginia SAR, with the Brennan Fund indicated on the Memo line, and sent to our Society Treasurer, Rick Elofson, 21 Paula Maria Drive, Newport News, Virginia 23606.
The second R is for Reaffirm. Every time we recite the SAR Pledge, we commit ourselves to reaffirm our commitment to defend the principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic against every foe. As a means of doing so, I challenge you to make every effort to attend the four Nationally recognized events in the Commonwealth. The first of these, the Crossing of the Dan, took place the third week of February. The three remaining are Martin’s Station celebrated on May 11, Yorktown on October 19, and Great Bridge in early December. Chapters having members attending all four events will be recognized with a streamer. A monument will be dedicated later in the year honoring the Culpeper Minutemen. Participation there will also be recognized with a streamer. We also will again be joining with the Society of the War of 1812 in Virginia and will be participating in two ceremonies on June 1, the first a grave marking ceremony at the Cedar Grove Ceremony at 10:00 and the second a plaque dedication at 11:30 at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, Virginia. A program to place markers or monuments honoring patriots and War of 1812 veterans buried or memorialized in each of Virginia’s counties at the Courthouse or other significant location, similar to the recognition given to World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and more recent conflicts has been launched, we expect to dedicate one in Warren County this fall, and further hope to continue this project in years to come. We are also looking ahead, and as part of our Strategic Planning will develop a multi-year plan so that future dedications can include the DAR and veteran’s organizations in such recognition programs.
The third R is to Recognize. Here there is some overlap with the second R, but as envisioned, we need to focus on recognizing and rewarding those who participate in our programs, giving their time energy, and money to advance our cause. Our Youth Program participants, compatriots, spouses, schools, businesses, and friends who properly display the flag, public servants, particularly our first responders, and elected community officials all richly deserve recognition. 2019 also marks the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of indentured Afro-American at Jamestown and the Williamsburg Chapter’s its 50th Anniversary.
The last R is for Retain. The challenge here is to communicate with our members, to continuously solicit their input and provide the types of programs that will make them want to get involved. We ended 2018 with a modest but positive growth. Let’s build on it in 2019; it takes a concerted effort on all of our parts.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Culpeper Minutemen Monument Dedication Ceremony originally scheduled for October 26, 2019 has been postponed indefinitely.
Please distribute this information to all chapter and committee members.
R. Wayne Rouse
Secretary, Assistant Treasurer
& Awards Committee Chairman
A NSSAR Flag Recognition Certificate was awarded to John and Cheri Grantz by Chapter Flag Chairman George Corbett in recognition of exemplary patriotism in their display of the American Flag, especially a 24-hour per day display properly illuminated during hours of darkness. Pictured left to right are George Corbett, Cheri and John Grantz. Grantz is a retired U.S. Army officer and the Grantz’ are a very patriotic family.
Submitted by: Harley Stewart
17-18 Aug 2019 Mattanock Town, VA
The Nansemond Indian Nation gathered with many friends and neighbors for their Annual Pow Wow at Mattanock Town in Suffolk County this past weekend. The Mattanock Nation supported the American Revolution and all tribal members are likely qualified to be members of either the SAR, DAR, or C.A.R. Many Nansemond ancestors served as soldiers and others supported the Revolution with supplies or with their taxes.
The Virginia SAR Color Guard marched in the Opening Ceremony each day to honor the Nansemond Nation for their efforts in the struggle for American Independence. SAR members from around the state also helped the Nansemond Indian Patriots Chapter man a recruiting tent. Last year this new chapter was started with primarily members of the Nansemond Indian Nation. The Virginia SAR is now working to help start a similar DAR chapter and the DAR was also working from our recruiting tent.
On Saturday the public program included the induction of two new members into the SAR and the Nansemond Indian Patriots Chapter. Virginia SAR 1st Vice President Bill Schwetke inducted new compatriots Keith Anderson and his son Kalen Anderson with assistance from their sponsor, Nansemond Assistant Chief Tom Badamo, and Joe Vermaelen of the Empire State Society who has worked tirelessly to establish this chapter.
This was a great event, blessed with partly cloudy skies, though the heat and humidity made the drink vendors very popular. There was traditional Pow Wow food and at least two dozen vendors selling appropriate items.
The program consisted of several series of dances representing various traditions that were carefully explained by the master of ceremonies. There were also opportunities for everyone to participate in the dances. All SAR members present participated in one particular dance, the one to honor veterans, which had about 50 participants.
This is an annual event and each Pow Wow is a great opportunity for the Nansemond Indian Patriots Chapter to tell of the heroism and sacrifices of their ancestors in the American Revolution and invite others to join us.
Left to right: Jeff Brown (Thomas Nelson Jr. Chapter, Virginia SAR President Peter Davenport, Nansemond Indian Patriot Chapter President Sam Bass (also Nansemond Indian Nation Chief), Bill Schwetke (Culpeper Minutemen Chapter) and Kimball Thomspson (Thomas Nelson Jr Chapter). Not pictured is Chirs Melhuish of the Norfolk Chapter, who participated in the Color Guard on Saturday.
A meeting of the Williamsburg Chapter was turned into a re-enactment of a scene that took place on March 23, 1775 – the 2nd Virginia Convention of the House of Burgesses in St. John’s Church in Richmond, VA. Many members reported present as delegates from various stated counties of Virginia. Chapter President William Greaf represented Peyton Randolph, President of the House of Burgesses, Harley Stewart represented Edmund Pendleton, and Joseph Bromfield represented Patrick Henry, delegate from Hanover County. Being duly recognized, Henry presented his resolution to raise a militia in Virginia. Patrick Henry then proceeded to deliver his immortal speech in favor of the resolution, which ended with “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death.” The meeting will be long remembered by the chapter.
The photo shows Peyton Randolph (aka William Greaf, Chapter President) presenting a Certificate of Appreciation and a Jefferson cup to Patrick Henry (aka Joseph Bromfield).
Joseph Bromfield began doing reenactments in January 2017 with the St. John’s Church Foundation alternating between the roles of Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry. Since then, Bromfield has performed Patrick Henry’s ‘Liberty or Death’ speech for thousands of school children, Virginians, and patriots the world over. He has performed for Governor and First Lady Northam as well as new American citizens in a Naturalization Ceremony held at St. John’s Church.
Submitted by: Harley Stewart
Steve Perger and Stephen Holm were inducted into the Williamsburg Chapter at a meeting on August 11, 2019. Pictured L to R are Perger, Holm, and Chapter President William Greaf, who presented their Certificates of Membership. Not pictured is Ron Losee, Chapter Registrar, who presented brief biographies of them and their patriot ancestors.
Steve Perger’s ancestor was John Blakeley Jr., soldier 1776 at Chesterfield District, SC; quartermaster 1779 under Major Ross; adjutant under Co. Bratton, wounded at Sumter’s Surprise.
Stephen Holm’s ancestor was Francis Lightfoot Slaughter, soldier in Captain Robert Yancey’s First Regiment of Dragoons, Continental Line.
Submitted by: Harley Stewart
Tyler and Andrew Coenen were inducted into the Williamsburg Chapter at their home. Pictured, L to R, are Christine Coenen, their mother; Tyler (age 15); Andrew (age 12); and William Greaf, Chapter President who presented their Certificates of Membership. Not pictured are Ron Losee, Chapter Registrar, who presented their membership packages and Harley Stewart, Chapter Public Relations, who photographed the occasion.
The Coenen boys patriot ancestor is James McMath, soldier, Pennsylvania 3rd Battalion, Chester County under Captain Thomas Carpenter and Lieutenant Colonel John Hannum.
Christine Coenen is a member of the Williamsburg Chapter, NSDAR.
Submitted by: Harley Stewart
Norman Fuss spoke on Virginia’s Royal Governor Dunmore’s Raid on the Williamsburg Magazine on April 21, 1775. Arms and gunpowder were removed to British ships anchored in the James River. The act aroused the community and ignited an escalating series of incidents that led to the expulsion of Royal Authority and British forces from Virginia for the next five years. Mr. Fuss presented many little-known details uncovered by him in his in-depth research of the event. Fuss is a living history interpreter, a tour guide for the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, and a consultant for the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. He has published over two dozen articles related to the Revolutionary War period. Pictured are Chapter President William Greaf (left) and Vice President Jay Smith (right) presenting Norman Fuss (center) with a Certificate of Appreciation and a Jefferson Cup.
Submitted by: Harley Stewart
The Col. James Wood II Chapter held their annual summer "picnic" on July 27th. This year's well attended event was held at the historic Wayside Inn located in Middletown, VA. Built in the 1730's it was the perfect backdrop for the event. A number of the Charter Members attended with others dressed in colonial and military attire. All appreciated the picnic style buffet held in one of the air conditioned banquet rooms. Chapter President Dale Corey officiated. The Color Guard presented the colors.
This year's event was held in honor of the Chapter's Founding Fathers as well as the past presidents of the chapter. James M. Bayne (VASSAR past president) initiated the discussion of a new chapter back in 2006 and became its mentor. The first group of officers were formally in place in November of 2007. With existing SAR members from other chapters living in the Winchester area and surrounding towns as well as prospective new members, the Col. James Wood II Chapter was created. The new chapter was designated in the medium size category. Since then the Chapter has attained much recognition at the State and National level of the SAR for their community involvement and high level of sustained excellence.
Photo 1 L-R Mike Dennis, Charles Jameson, Marty Keesecker, Paul Christensen
Photo 2 Chapter Mentor and past VASSAR President James M. Bayne
Photo 3 l-r Past Presidents Steve Bush, Don Dusenbury
Photo 4 Color Guard preparing to post the colors
submitted by Bill Wood
27 Jul 2019 Bolivar, OH
The annual commemoration of Fort Laurens was held this past Saturday near Bolivar, OH. This is a national event hosted by the Ohio SAR.
Fort Laurens was an American fort in present day Ohio that was built in December 1778 as a staging point for an attack on the British at Detroit, an attack that never took place. It was manned by men from the 13th Virginia and the 8th Pennsylvania. They survived a siege by the British in the winter of 1779, but the fort was soon after abandoned.
The site of Fort Laurens is currently maintained by the Ohio History Connection and includes a museum. There is also a tomb for an unknown revolutionary soldier, which was the center piece for this ceremony.
The Virginia SAR was lead by President Peter Davenport who presented the Virginia SAR Wreath and marched in the Color Guard. Other Virginia participants included 1st Vice President Bill Schwetke and past PG Joe Dooley. Bill Schwetke presented a wreath for the Culpeper Minutemen Chapter and Joe Dooley presented a wreath for the George Mason Chapter. Dual member Will Ross presented a wreath for the Fincastle Resolutions Chapter.